Opinion | A celebration more than deserved

SPORTS. Carlos Valderrama, a soccer legend who saw action in the MLS / EFE

The United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, a period to highlight the incidence of this demographic group in North American culture. There is no exception in sport and football has been fed in the best possible way by this type of exponent.

In order to gain ground in a country with a clear tradition for American football, basketball and baseball, football (soccer in the United States) took important steps on the feet of Latino representatives who knew how to leave their mark.

Names like those of Marco Etcheverry and Carlos Valderrama are among the pieces of Hispanic origin that got into the history books of Major League Soccer thanks to their talent; However, if a player is to be selected from the list, without a doubt the most important due to his prominence has been Pele.

The mythical Brazilian, in the eyes of many the greatest of the discipline, saw action in the New York Cosmos between 1975 and 1977 in the defunct North American Soccer League.

His arrival was the first of many important to the nation, whose influence is increasingly important.

Nowadays it is a habit to see young people in the streets of Atlanta with the shirt of Venezuelan Josef Martínez, genius and United figure, as well as in Los Angeles it also happens with the jacket of Mexican Carlos Vela.

But the Hispanic impact on American soccer goes beyond the protagonists. From the bench, the names of Colombian Óscar Pareja and Argentine Gerardo Martino also shine, as they are the only two characters from the region to win the Coach of the Year award.

If it is a question of seeing in depth the main historical statistics of the league, the Bolivian Jaime Moreno says present as the fifth top scorer, Valderrama is fourth in assists and Vela the first with the most goals in a season.

Opening the doors of its soccer to Hispanics has been the most important factor in the bowels of MLS to promote a discipline that had to make a huge effort to penetrate a country whose history covered other sports.

The idyll between the ethnic group and the sport seems to be for life, a perfect marriage of two parts that for a month will celebrate each goal is Spanish.


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